Kids Learn Spanish Fast by Playing With It!

Scientific studies show that learning a foreign language, such as Spanish, can enhance a child’s cognitive development and overall learning ability. There are many reasons to promote educational opportunities for kids to learn Spanish. At CWIST, our number one reason to encourage children to learn Spanish is simple. Learning Spanish is fun and beneficial! Make learning fun with Spanish-themed challenges on www.cwist.com. Here are some of our favorite, free games to help kids practice Spanish, no matter how much experience they’ve had with the language:

Habla Espanol?

  • Starting Spanish Part 1 & Part 2- Hola, como estas? Assign these two educational opportunities for kids to assess where they are in their Spanish learning journey. These fun challenges make learning fun with Spanish multiple choice questions. This is a great place to start.
  • My Stuff in Español- It is much easier to learn a language within a context and with repetition. Learning games for kids are much more effective when they are enjoyable to play. This challenge is a mix of all of the right ingredients. All you’ll need are some strips of paper, markers, and tape to get started.
  • Funny Phrases in Español!- Fun games for kids also require two other important ingredients — imagination and a sense of humor. This is one of our favorite free games for kids to practice Spanish with the whole family. Your child will use an online English-Spanish translator to create funny phrases in Spanish. Then challenge your entire family to create a funny meaning and guess the real meaning of the Spanish sentence. Get ready to laugh while your child refines her Spanish skills.
  • Speaking in Tongues- This popular challenge is another one of our fun games for kids to practice Spanish with CWIST. By the end of this CWIST challenge, your home will be a classroom at every turn. Look forward to having pieces of paper with Spanish vocabulary taped on your television, furniture, food, and more.

It’s so important to encourage your child’s love for learning languages at a young age. These free games for kids to practice Spanish will keep Spanish words fresh on your child’s mind at home. If you have your own ideas of how to make learning fun with Spanish, then consider putting your CWISTMAKER skills to the test. Contribute to CWIST by creating your own challenge or Spanish-themed WISH to share with other parents. See how much fun your child can have learning Spanish with www.cwist.com!

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Help the Kids Learn to Organize this Fall

As temperatures continue to drop, we invariably find ourselves spending increased hours indoors, especially in our own homes.  Though spring months are often associated with a yearly cleaning, fall is also a great time to do a little tidying up when it feels too chilly or dark to fully enjoy the outdoors. Focusing on cleanliness and organization now is an excellent way to prepare for spending more time inside later. With practice and patience, anyone can learn to become more organized. These CWIST Challenges are all indoor activities for kids with a specific focus on organizational skills.

A room is completely messed up and left in chaos. All logos are removed.

  1. Spring cleaning any time! From birthdays to holidays to special occasions in between, kids collect clothes and toys and other sundry gifts quite easily. Before too long, your kids’ closets are overflowing and toy chests are packed full. This activity is all about less clutter, concentrating on getting rid of those belongings no longer being used. The items can be divided into two essential categories – those which will stay, and those which will go. From there, a conversation can start about whether those things will go to a younger sibling, a neighbor, a donation center, or even added to a yard sale. The possibilities are endless, and so is the good that can be done by sharing these once cherished possessions!
  2. Get organized book shelves! Similar to the previous project, this begins by gathering together all of the books from around the house and then choosing which to keep and which to let go of. These books may not be of interest any longer or have undergone damage, but whatever the reason, they have the potential to be recycled or donated. You can then teach your children how to organize the books they want to keep. Will these books be separated by their subject matter or reading level? Will they be alphabetized by author or by title? The most important thing to keep in mind is what will be best system for locating a specific story later on.
  3. Time to learn laundry! It seems like it only takes a short amount of time for a large heap of laundry to accumulate. Learning how to do laundry is a lifelong skill that kids will be grateful for – if not initially, definitely down the road. As is true for all Cwist suggestions, this lesson is recommended for a specific age level, and this laundry activity is intended for older children, different than most other activities. Still, even children younger than nine may benefit from knowing the basics of sorting darks from lights and delicates from heavier items. Plus, they may also be able to help with the folding once everything is clean. What is better than a chore that doubles as a Cwist and also earns Wishes?

Hopefully these Challenges will make life easier, providing a cleaner and more comfortable living space for the whole family. Take advantage of fall as an optimal season to get organized. You and your family can really enjoy spending ample amounts of time in your home during the colder months because the environment around you is free of clutter!

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Earning vs. Getting: Reward Children a Better Way on CWIST

We all know it’s not easy being a parent with an overloaded schedule. That might seem like a huge understatement, but it’s no less true. And like you, I’m always thinking about ways to balance life while still raising happy, healthy, well-adjusted children.  When my child asks for something like a toy or a game, sometimes it seems like a time saver for me to simply buy the item right then because I know it’ll make her happy and that makes me feel good too. But when I really think about it, might just getting my child the things she wants make her an unhappy person in the long run?  Probably yes.  So I’ve shifted my thinking around buying things on the fly, and now focus on using my time more wisely by teaching my child how to actually earn the things she wants.  Together we make a plan for her to earn the things she is wishing for on www.cwist.com and when she’s completed a learning challenge she feels a greater sense pride and involvement in receiving toy because she has participated in earning it as a reward.   Doing this has taken the stress away from those “gimme” moments because she knows that it’s pretty likely that I’ll let her earn just about anything if she’ll work hard enough to achieve it.

Girl making fruit salad to eat healthy

Here are some tips for giving this a try:

How to Earn WISH Rewards

Sometimes it’s appropriate to simply give your child a gift. In the interest of making the most of your time, consider setting up a plan for your child to earn her next gift. I like to think of this process more like granting WISHES. You can encourage learning with WISHES by first letting your child choose from hundreds of great CHALLENGES. Here’s an example.  These educational activities for kids can often be done safely without adult supervision. My daughter completes challenges while I’m busy getting things marked off my list. It’s great for me to be as involved as I’m able to be with these challenges. I like to check in periodically to see if my daughter has any questions. It won’t take much time to get your child started on a challenge.

Choosing the Right WISH
After completing a series of challenges, you get to grant a WISH for your child. The catch here is that you’re granting a WISH that your child has earned. You’ve successfully found a way to make learning fun with rewards, so now it’s time to choose the right WISH. There are tons of options to choose from on CWIST. I like to let my child choose one of the many toys and gadgets WISHES available on the CWIST site. Perhaps you’d rather grant a homemade WISH. There are so many ways to make the most of family activities as WISHES. You can find suggestions like a camping trip, basketball outing, cake baking contest and more! And if you have a rather unique child like me, you can also create a WISH specifically tailored to your child.

The pairing of CHALLENGES with WISHES is what CWIST is all about. Giving your child something to work towards independently is a great way to stay involved with your child’s life while getting your work done. Explore www.cwist.com to learn how you can challenge your child and make learning fun with rewards.

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Fall Football Learning Activities for Parents and Children

Fall is here. This time of year marks cooler weather, beautiful colors in the trees, and the smell of pumpkin pie. This time of year is also very exciting for the sports fans in your house. Fall is the time when the college and professional football seasons are in full swing. Do you have a child who loves football? Maybe you’re a huge football fan yourself. If not, then there’s still hope for you to connect with your son over the sport he loves. On www.cwist.com, we’ve got tons of fun football activities for parents to enjoy with their sons and daughters. Check out some of our favorite sports games for parents and children to enjoy together this football season:

  • Monday Morning Math: Football Multiplication- If your child has already played some of the cool math games for kids, then she’ll love this football-themed multiplication challenge. First, read through this CWIST challenge yourself. Write down some of the questions posed in the first steps of this challenge. Ask these questions to your child while he’s watching his favorite football team on Sunday. Hopefully, this will pique his interest in this cool football activity. Assign this challenge as a way for your child to practice his math skills. Your child will try to figure out if the area of his house is larger than a football field. He’ll be surprised at the results!  flag football learning activities
  • Monday Morning Math: Football Passing Yardage and Place Value- Make learning fun with games about your child’s favorite football players! All football-loving fans have their favorite quarterbacks. This CWIST challenges your child to look at the 2013 stats of professional quarterbacks and practice identifying place values. As a parent, you may or may not have your own favorite quarterback. Don’t worry. All you’ll need to enjoy this CWIST challenge with your child is some a basic understanding of place values and math. If your child prefers college football, then you can find the necessary statistics with a simple online search.
  • Family Flag Football- Of course, in a family, there’s always room to enjoy each other’s favorite things together. Let all of your children learn about the basics of football with this fun football game for kids. Once everybody has learned the basics about football, head outside for a game of flag football in the fall air. Don’t forget to take the time to make your own flags before the game. Nobody has to be left out with this CWIST!

These aren’t the only football games for kids on CWIST. Search for more sports games for parents and children to enjoy together this fall. Take advantage of the cool weather and learn something new to encourage your child to make learning fun with games.Welcome to EditPad.org – your online plain text editor. Enter or paste your text here. To download and save it, click on the button below.

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Learning History with Games and Activities

Sometimes, learning history can be tough for kids. Remembering dates and historical events isn’t everyone’s strong suit. However, learning about history’s great figures can bring the past to life, and really engage children of all ages.

These educational history games and activities will do just that by focusing on some of our country’s seminal figures. They all provide plenty of substance, with lots of resources for them to read and watch. Some offer educational more resources and websites for kids, others even encourage visiting a library and checking out particular books. However, there are also plenty of interesting activities that accompany each of them. These activities will help keep your child engaged, and provide an even better glimpse into the life of the historical figure he’s learning about.

The Harriet Tubman’s Suitcase Challenge will have your child creating a fictional suitcase for the Underground Railroad.  Your son or daughter will fill it with objects from Tubman’s personal narrative, representing her dreams and her accomplishments. But first, your child will get a brief history lesson on this amazing woman.

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Harriet Tubman

One way to understand the impact of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln is, well, to simply look in your wallet. Or have your child complete the George Washington and Abraham Lincoln challenge. While both presidents played equally important roles in our country’s history, each president did so in a drastically different way. In this challenge your child will really have a chance to connect with the past by using Venn Diagrams and funny, engaging videos to learn about these colorful, important people in our history while discovering the impacts they’ve had, and the differences between them.

George Washington & Abraham Lincoln

Your son can became a Junior Ranger! With the Become A Lewis & Clark Jr. Ranger Challenge, he’ll earn his National Parks Junior Ranger Badge and become a Lewis and Clark Historic Trail Junior Ranger. There’s a lot of information for him to learn, but much of it comes in the form of educational games.

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3 Great Pumpkin Arts and Crafts Ideas for Kids

Pumpkins are synonymous with fall holidays. You can’t go through the cooler months without seeing pumpkins at every turn. People are fascinated with pumpkins, and for many good reasons. These fall beauties have been grown in North America for over 5,000 years and are also very nutritious to eat. Here are three great pumpkin arts and crafts ideas for kids to enjoy during Halloween, Thanksgiving or something in between:

  1. Pumpkin Golf is one of our favorite kids games to play for fall. This activity is a great way to make learning fun with crafts by teaching your child how to play golf. If your child already loves playing golf, then you could pair one of the other pumpkin carving challenges with this activity as the WISH reward. A family game of golf sounds like a great way to reward your child for carving his own spooky pumpkin.
  2. One of our favorite fall craft ideas for the family is the Pick a Template: Carve a Pumpkin challenge. In this challenge, every family member can choose a template, print it out, and carve their individual pumpkins. Feel free to encourage everybody to add a special touch to each pumpkin. You could even designate a judge and to reward prizes for most creative or scariest design. The whole neighborhood will want to check out your family’s masterpieces when they walk by your house this fall. pickatemplate
  3. Did you know that jack o’lanterns were first made in Ireland? The Jack O’Lantern Designing Challenge will teach your child trivia about the history of carving pumpkins. This challenge is about much more than just arts and crafts for kids. Your child will get a history lesson about everybody’s favorite fall tradition. This CWIST activity challenges your child to think outside the box too. Your child will come up with five fantastic jack o’lantern designs of various styles. You’ve probably never seen pumpkins like the ones your child will design with this challenge.There are many ways to have fun with pumpkins this fall. These three pumpkin arts and crafts ideas for kids will keep your child busy and learning for days. Get started today so that you can decorate your house for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Enjoy other great challenges and WISHES on www.cwist.com. See how much fun learning can be this fall with CWIST!
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Exciting New Features at CWIST!

Dear CWIST families:

share feature

New SHARE feature!

Over the last several months, we’ve been busy listening to your amazing ideas for making CWIST better. We have been truly blown away by the insights and feedback that’s come in through our new chat feature and via email.  Working with you to make cwist better is exactly what we aim for, so here’s what we’ve improved and added to CWIST.

Lots of new features:

SHARE the CWIST challenges you love with your family and friends on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and email with the new share button!

EASY to follow browsing, searching and challenge assignment tools to help your family find intereting activities and assign them to kids.

MORE wishes!  In addition to the great “wish” products from imaginetoysFranklin’s Toys, and ScientificsDirect, we’ve added Fat Brain Toys!  We’ve also added the top trending toys from Amazon.com so that more things your kids bugging you for are in the wish area, ready for them to earn.

DEALS! Thanks to our super cool retail partners, we are now offering promotional coupons including discounts and free shipping, so that if you purchase your child’s wish at the time you set up a CWIST, you’ll get rewarded too!.

MOBILE  CWIST is now optimized for use on your mobile device!  Be sure to check out our cleaner, simpler design that looks amazing on your tablet and mobile phone and is super easy to use.

MAKE YOUR OWN  We know families and classrooms loving creating their own CWIST challenges and rewards – and we love that! That’s why we’ve improved our “Create a CWIST” tool making it even easier to write and publish (if you choose) your own challenges.  And, we’ve also made it super easy for kids to let a grown up know about challenges they want to do, and the things they want to earn.

And that’s not all, over the next few months we’ll have alot more to share around our new Common Core offering that includes special search tools for parents by districts using Common Core curriculum.

We are always looking for ways to enhance your family’s CWIST experience to motivate learning, and help kids achieve goals.  If there is more you would like to see happen on CWIST, we would love to hear from you!

Happy CWISTING!

Chris Sleat, CEO, CWIST

Common Sense Media Parents' Choice Award brain_child_logo

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Halloween Fun for Kids at Snack Time

Snack time is an honored after-school tradition for most kids, a cherished break in the day before dinnertime and evening activities begin. It’s also a time when kids are usually really, really hungry and more than willing to help with preparation.

Though well-loved and looked forward to, snack time can often leave something to be desired. Busy schedules and a lapse in creativity may contribute to our snacks tasting a bit more bland than brilliant, more uninspired than original. The good news is, with just a small amount of preparation, this can all be done by making it a fun learning project with the kids. Below are three fun activities for kids at snack time, each intended to help enhance this experience and elevate it to an educational experience.

  1. Boneyard breadsticks. A perfect snack as we are fast-approachi ng Halloween, these breadsticks not only taste great, they make a terrific math lesson in practicing measurements, also. This recipe may be fairly simple, but it can become more imaginative by pairing these breadsticks with your favorite dip – marinara, salsa, hummus, or another sauce you enjoy. These spooky treats are a guaranteed hit with children ad adults alike.
  2. Mummy franks. This is another awesome idea as the countdown to Halloween continues to grow smaller.    The ‘mummy’ here is recommended to be some type of hot dog or sausage, though a veggie variety would also serve as a wonderful substitute. Once again, there is much to be learned while measuring and mixing the dough (or the ‘rope,’ as the recipe refers to it). If this portion seems too large for a single snack size, these mummies can be sliced into smaller pieces – an additional opportunity to teach about fractions, as well as the importance of sharing.
  3. Make your own peanut butter. This activity is not necessarily holiday-related, but it definitely still feels appropriate for the season. If peanuts are of concern, almonds or hazelnuts a00e6ccb26914c5fac915b44495e6f0e are advised as replacements. You also have a choice in the consistency of your peanut butter. Do you like it to be more on the crunchy side, or do you prefer it to be smooth? Discuss the taste and texture throughout the process, using as many descriptive words as you can. Finally, pair your peanut butter with celery, carrots, apples, or bananas – whatever you like! Be sure to talk about the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, and how they positively contribute to our health.

Snack time does not need to be reserved for only the school-aged members of the family. The suggestions included here are for every one at every age, and these are just the beginning. Feel free to explore new ideas, get inventive in your kitchen, and bring back a bit of excitement to your snacks. Add your ideas at www.cwist.com in by creating a new snack learning challenges and publishing them for other parents to share in the fun!

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Kickstart Fall and Make Learning Fun with Rewards for Kids

A challenge without a reward is just a fun activity. Every child loves fun activities, but CWIST encourages learning whenever possible. Like so many teachers do, we encourage parents to make learning fun with rewards and challenges. It takes both to create the perfect CWIST.

On CWIST, you can find fun rewards for children under the WISHES section of the website. Some WISH activities are toys, experiments, and other fun things to buy as a reward for your child successfully completing a challenge. Other WISHES are homemade and often free to enjoy. With the seasons changing, you might also want to consider all varieties of WISH rewards for families to enjoy this fall. Here are some of our favorite WISH rewards for families:

  • The Sprout n’ Grow Greenhouse WISH is a great educational reward for kids. Your child will get to learn about and grow his very own pumpkin. If you get started now, then you might have time to see the pumpkin finish growing before fall is over!
  • You can find tons of fun family activities on CWIST. Reward your child’s hard work by granting him the WISH of a camping trip. Let him choose the location or take a vote as a family. Fall is the perfect time to spend a night out under the stars.
  • Consider letting your child choose the opportunity to go to a football game. Football season is in full swing. Take your children to a high school, college, or professional game. This WISH reward would certainly be a great motivator to make learning fun for your child. Bring the whole family along for the perfect outing.
  • Fall marks the start of many local events like festivals and carnivals. You’re probably already planning on going to some of these events. Let your child choose her favorite local events like a county fair, Renaissance fair, or museum day. These WISH rewards are great for the whole family.

You can find many other fall-friendly WISH rewards for families in the WISHES section. However, you also have an opportunity on www.cwist.com to create a WISH and specially tailor it to your family’s favorite activities. Create a WISH and assign it as reward for your child’s next challenge. The sky’s the limit when you’re learning with CWIST! How will your child make learning fun with rewards for the whole family this fall?

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Environmental Clean-Up Opportunities for Kids

The beautiful fall weather is the perfect backdrop to let your child learn how to make a difference in the environment by cleaning-up around the community.  CWIST can make learning fun for kids who want to improve the environment in their neighborhoods and communities throughout the entire year. Check out these fun team building opportunities for kids who want a cleaner community and world around them.

  • First, your child can gain a wealth of knowledge about trash with the Trash Talk CWIST. Where does trash go after you throw it away? How much trash does the average person throw away each year? This CWIST answers these questions and more for your child. Once your child has a solid understanding about the impact of trash on the environment, he or she can move on to some of the amazing environmental projects to make learning fun on CWIST. trash cleap up
  • How amazing would it be to watch your child clean up the neighborhood with you? Litter Clean Up is one of the great summer activities for parents and kids to do together. Your child will take your whole family for a walk to clean up the community. You’ll get to play the role of encourager and supervisor during this CWIST. See how much litter your child can find on one walk through the neighborhood. Always remember to respect your neighbor’s property lines and wear gloves.
  • Stream, River, Lake Cleanup is a wonderful way to combine team building opportunities for kids with a heightened sense of environmental awareness. The sky’s the limit with this CWIST. Your child will walk through the steps of making a flyer, recruiting volunteers, finding sponsors, and choosing the right cleanup site. There’s even a video of a child who made the local news broadcast with a similar cleanup activity. Your child will learn many valuable lessons about team building, organizing, and dreaming big with this powerful CWIST.

These great team building opportunities for kids are sure to spark a passion in your child for the environment. He might choose to get the entire town involved or keep things within the family. Either way, your community is going to be a better place to live after your child teams up with CWIST to cleanup the neighborhood this summer.

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